The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chick-fil-A and contraception

The heading to my blog includes the words:

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.


Although nobody has called me on it, a few moments before posting this note I was standing in a shower and it occurred to me that I've taken two positions that some might assail as inconsistent:

  1. On the one hand, I've been boycotting Chick-fil-A for years: not because of their stance on gay marriage, but because they enforce the Christian Sabbath on all franchisees, of any religion, but
  2. On the other hand, I've defended Catholic institutions which refuse to provide contraception in their insurance plans, and thus incur fines under “Obamacare”


But this is not as inconsistent as many people might believe. The difference between Chick-fil-A and the Catholic institutions, both of which want to impose their religious beliefs on others, is a major one: the role of Government.

Chick-fil-A has every right to do what it is doing as an expression of the Cathy family's First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. And I have the right, under that same First Amendment, to boycott them on religious grounds. I do not have the power to make Chick-fil-A pay millions of dollars in fines as a consequence of their behavior. All I can do is withhold my dollars, and the dollars of anyone else who reads my position and decides to take the same step that I have, from Chick-fil-A. If the Cathy family chooses to continue, they still can, without my patronage.

The Catholic institutions are in a different position. It isn't just a boycott by pro-women's-rights groups that they are facing; it is a fine, imposed by the Government of the United States of America. I don't defend their position; I certainly would not consider contraception immoral, though I've never used it in the past (because, when I was engaging in marital relations with my wife, I wanted children, though they never happened.)

Both Chick-fil-A and the Catholic institutions have every right to let the principles of their religion guide the way they run their businesses. But individuals like myself have a right to boycott businesses who do that in a way we dislike. And Government has no business interfering with either of those rights.

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